"Though she be but little, she is fierce..." (Shakespeare)
Emily A. Rollie
A freelance theatre director, intimacy choreographer, actor, and educator, Emily Rollie has acted in and directed productions in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Idaho, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.
Emily completed her Master’s degree in theatre production, with an emphasis on directing, at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, where she received a certificate of merit in directing from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her work on Boneheads, an original student-written work, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a touring children’s production.While living in the Seattle-Tacoma area, she worked as a freelance director with theatres around the Seattle-Tacoma and South Sound area.
Emily received her PhD in theatre from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her primary research areas include directing, women/feminist theatre, and Canadian theatre, all of which culminated in her doctoral dissertation (and current book project): "Women of the Northern Stage: Gender, Nationality, and Identity and the Work of Canadian Women Stage Directors." Her scholarly work has been published in Theatre Annual, Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre History Studies, Theatre Survey, and Theatre Journal. Her essay, "Intimate Relation(ship)s: The Development of Director-Performer Relationships in Feminist Solo Performance" appeared in About Directing (edited by Anna Migliarsi) in 2014. She also is proud to be a contributor to the edited collection, New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts (2018), with her article "Teaching the 'Intangibles': Building Pedagogical Bridges Between Business, Entrepreneurship, and Theatre."
In July 2016, Emily returned to Central Washington University - this time as a faculty member in the Department of Theatre Arts and associate faculty member in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. There, she teaches directing, dramatic literature, critical theory, theatre history, acting, and theatre pedagogy for undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to teaching at Central Washington, Emily spent three years as an assistant professor of theatre at Monmouth College, a liberal arts college in Monmouth, Illinois.
Emily also spent five years as the artistic director of Independent Actors Theatre (IAT), a "purposefully nomadic" theatre company in Columbia, Missouri, for which she also directed productions and organized the annual short Women's Play Festival (the plays are short, not the women!). While in Missouri, she was the associate director of the Troubling Violence Performance Project (TVPP), a group dedicated to opening lines of communication about issues of relationship violence through the performance of personal narratives, for four years, and she began the Monmouth branch of TVPP in 2014. She also has directed for TRYPS Children's Theatre and other youth theatre groups.
Emily particularly enjoys directing new plays - having worked with IAT"s short Women's Play Festival and directing for the Mizzou New Play Series as well as the Playwriting Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference, In 2018, she directed Cold Spring, a new play by Victor Lesniewski, as part of Campfire Theatre Festival in Boise, Idaho, and she has directed for Voices of the Earth New Play Festival in Bemidji, Minnesota. She is also interested in directing new works by solo performers and has collaborated frequently with storyteller Milbre Burch on pieces such as Changing Skins and Sometimes I Sing.
An associate faculty member for Theatrical Intimacy Education, Emily also works as an intimacy choreographer and educator. She has choreographed for plays including Stupid F**king Bird, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, In the Blood, These Shining Lives, and more.
Her scholarly work investigates the intersections between theatre practice and theory, with a particular interest in women and feminist theatre, Canadian theatre, directing practice and theory, and theatre for social change. She has had articles and book reviews published in Theatre Annual, Theatre Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, SDC Journal (peer-reviewed section), Theatre Survey, and other volumes. Her current book project considers the ways Canadian women directors negotiate power, gender, race, and other intersectional identities in their artistic work and practices. She is also currently editing a book entitled Milestones in Staging Contemporary Genders & Sexualities.
Emily is also an associate member of the SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) and a co-editor of the SDC Journal Peer Reviewed Section.
Outside of theatre, Emily is a yoga practitioner and instructor, distance runner, coffee lover, globetrotter (of the traveling, rather than the basketball-playing, kind), and a Wonder Woman fan. She is regularly "assisted" in her work by Bogart the Yoga Cat.